4/10/23- By Michael Castrignano – @412DoublePlay on Twitter
Reeling from losing Oneil Cruz on Sunday, the Pirates scuffled on Monday night, dropping the opening game of the Astros series 8-2. It was announced earlier in the day that Cruz had surgery to repair his fractured left ankle and would be out for 4 months.
Roansy Contreras had a rough time, lasting only 3.1 innings after surrendering 7 runs – the third time in four games in which the Pirates starting pitcher was unable to record an out in the 5th inning.
Houston starter Framber Valdez was another story, fanning 5 Pirates, generating 13 outs via the ground ball with his sinker-heavy arsenal. He allowed only 2 runs off 3 hits and 5 walks in his 7 innings of shutdown work.
News & Notes
- Contreras had a MUCH different outing than his last time out, looking more wild as he only landed 44 of his 83 pitches for strikes
- Ji-Man Choi knocked his first home run as a Pirate. It came in the bottom of the 2nd inning off southpaw Valdez, only the 5th time he has allowed a home run off a left-handed hitter in his career.
- Wil Crowe appears to be settling back into a multi-inning relief pitcher role. He went 2.2 innings matching 3 strikeouts with 3 walks and no hits or runs allowed.
- Rule 5 pick Jose Hernandez gave up 1 run in his 2 innings of work and lefty Rob Zastryzny pitched the only 1-2-3 inning of the night for the Pirates.
- Rodolfo Castro reached base all three times he came to the plate: hit by pitch in the 2nd, 110.6 MPH RBI single in the 4th and a full-count walk in the 7th.
- Mark Mathias was recalled from Indianapolis prior to the game and started at 2B for the Pirates in his first appearance with the team.
- The Pirates will take another shot at Houston tomorrow at 6:35PM. Mitch Keller makes his third turn for Pittsburgh looking to turn tides as the Astros send out Cristian Javier to the bump. Let’s Go Bucs!